What is Candida? | The Beginning of My Sugar-Free Life

All Health Begins in the Gut. Find out about Candida, the Causes of Gut Dysbiosis, Why I Went Sugar Free, and to Improve Your Health from the Inside Out.

**IMPORTANT – Check out Healing From Autism, Eczema, Hypoglycemia, and More – Come Find Out How to get more great information on gut health and learn about an amazing gut health course.  Savings on the course through 6/26/13.)

Is it possible to stop eating sugar?

What is candida anyway?

Why do I avoid dates, and why am I so picky about sweeteners on this blog?

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Come find out.

If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you’ve noticed something.

– I don’t post recipes including dried fruits, and when I feature them (like in my Allergy-Free blog hop), I present an alternative.

– I use alternative sweeteners (like stevia and even–gasp–xylitol and erythritol.)

Why is that?

Well, I used to be a real sugar-aholic and that led to some pretty bad health effects.

I thought I really needed to share some of the story with you so that you could learn more about me–and perhaps learn how to better care for yourself and your family.

I grew up in a family eating the Standard American Diet (SAD).  A typical daily menu would look like:

– White bread toast with margarine and cinnamon sugar on it (and it wasn’t my Healthified Cinnamon Sugar)
– School lunch (maybe pizza, milk, and dessert.  When I got into high school, it was likely
–  Pasta, stir fry, etc.
– of course, after school snacks of dry cereal, ice cream (like Breyer’s Natural Mint Chip)

Of course, there was variation, but you get the idea.

As I grew older, my “health consciousness” grew, and I started eating more and more vegetables and fruits, and even whole grains, but I still was a real sugar addict.

I even worked at an ice cream parlor for years, which was a completely bad idea.

All employees would snack on the ice cream and candy bar toppings (when we had time), and there were numerous days when I came home stuffed and just couldn’t eat dinner.

Years went by.  I ended up with health issues that no one could connect the dots with.

itching in my ears, which the doctor said was likely just dry ears “It’s a vicious cycle.  Just stop scratching them.  It’ll go away.”
vaginal itching (diagnosed as vaginitis)
–  tinea versicolor (a fungus that discolors the back and abdomen with white, itchy spots.  Typically it shows up in summer months.)

And as more years went by, more conditions showed up:

on and off fatigue
mood fluctuations
I clearly remember the day (about 3 years ago) when I was standing after church, talking with two friends of mine.  They were talking about candida.  And sugar.  And changing their diets.

I was listening, but basically might as well have had my fingers in my ears, because I didn’t want to hear what they were saying.

They were talking about:

severe mood fluctuations
vaginal “issues”

(Hmmm…sounds familiar, eh?)

And they were talking about candida.

I’d heard about candida, but no doctor had said that I had it.  They should know what they are talking about, right?


One of my friends said she had had manic-depressive episodes and thought she’d have to give up homeschooling, but going sugar-free had helped her greatly.

I. didn’t. want. to. hear. that.

Me?  Give up sugar.

No way.

I really was basically standing there with my fingers in my ears humming to myself to block out their words…..

Well, fast forward six months or a year.

My symptoms progressed.  Now I had:

severe fatigue
mood swings and depression (it’s pretty easy to be depressed when you are severely fatigued.)
itching scalp (sometimes this got pretty bad.)
insomnia (I had always had a hard time sleeping, but it was getting worse.)

I felt like I’d hit rock bottom.

I didn’t know what to do, but a friend who participates in our family’s whole foods co-op shared her struggles with sugar and candida with me.

She pointed me to a site called Whole Approach.  I took their Candida Symptom Assessment Questionnaire and my score was super high.

My allopathic background (I had been pre-med in college) led me to be suspicious of any “self-diagnosing questionnaire”, but I needed help.

I poured over their site, and ordered their cleansing and candida-killing supplements, and started the candida diet.

Well, there is a lot more to tell.

I had horrible die-off reactions the first two weeks or so of the diet.

My diet had changed and now I was eating:

no sweeteners that feed candida (sugar, evaporated cane juice, sucanat, agave, maple syrup, honey, etc.)
no fruit
no dried fruit
limited starches

Later, after following their protocol pretty carefully, I found myself in a pit of bad health again.

I’ll be sharing more about that later.  But let’s just suffice it to say that I now think there is much more to treating candida than just cutting back on sugars and starches.

I do think checking out Whole Approach’s site for dietary ideas and for their self-assessment can be quite helpful.

But I think you’ll be intrigued to hear more about candida and its ties to other health issues in the future.

We’ve had a lot of health struggles in our family.  It is hard to deal with them all, but I do hope that what I share can bring help and healing to others.

UPDATE –  June 2013.  There is a GREAT Gut Health Course (I am an affiliate for the course, so if you register through my link I will get a commission) that is going to be taught starting July 10 for 10 weeks.  It’s a great “learn when you can” ecourse so you can follow along at your own pace and learn in the comfort of your own home.

You can get all of the details by clicking on the image below.

Heal Gut June 2013



Other Health-Related Posts:

Could You Have Heavy Metal Toxicity and Not Know It?
Just Tired?  Or Something More?  Take This Quick Test
Just a Red Face? Or Something More?
Food Allergies and Eczema – From Despair to Healing

Some of Our Favorite Sugar-Free Treats:

Healthy “Almond Joy” Bars
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Homemade “Jello”
Chocolate Chip “Cheesecake”-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes (dairy-free) 

(Now remember: I am not a doctor and this post is not to be construed as medical advice.  You should consult with your physician before making any dietary changes or trying any supplements.  But you knew that, right :-)?)

For more of the story, read Candida, My Childhood, and 5 Causes of Gut Imbalance and Busting a Popular Gut Health Myth.

Have you thought about going off of sugar?

This post contains an affiliate link or two.  Please read my disclaimer.
Shared at Food Renegade.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. I’ve been curious about this lately. Very timely!

    What sort of “die-off reactions”?

    • Hmmm… Increased itching. Gastrointestinal distress. Emotional difficulty. Turns out I cut too much out too fast and I don’t appear to detox well. I’ll be sharing more. Are you thinking about going sugar free? I think it’s crucial. Just there is more to the story.

      • Hi Adrienne, I think there is more to the story and finding the culprit too. I’m doing a allergy elimination diet and going off yeast and sugar. Have you cut out honey and carbs too? How are you doing now that you’ve been off sugar for awhile? Are you feeling better?

        • Hi Ali. Please tell what you are thinking about. Yes, I do feel a lot better, but I think my adrenals and thyroid and metals need work. All honey and candida-feeding sweeteners are out and most carbs. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for this. Very timley for me too! I’m 10 days free of choc and most sugar (except fruit), after finally working out that sugar has been causing some pretty horrendous health issues for me too! (50+ years in the making!)

    I was just wondering about cutting fruit as well, as even that makes me look pale and feel tired, but it seems so counter-intuitive when it is so full of life! So I’ll stick to cutting all white sugar for now, just have a little honey/maple/molasses occ, keep some fruit, and see how I go.

    Can’t wait to hear more from you!


    • Most candida diets recommend no fruit but I have seem some that are OK with Granny Smith apples and berries. I never did well when I kept it in my diet. I have very small amounts very occasionally now. Vegetables seem to be more crucial to health and my practitioner says much fruit has been hybridized to be sweeter. Notice how sour fruits in nature are?

  3. Adrienne, Thanks for your reply. So you have virtually no fruits at all? For how long?

    • I had none for a looooong time. If you check out the Whole Approach site, I think they recommend no fruits at all until you are basically symptom free for 3 months. Maybe 6. I haven’t used their site for a long time. I eat lemon, lime, cranberry now.

  4. Did you ever develop oral thrush as part of the symptoms? When I was younger it was only caused by antibiotics but now anything can cause it, too much sugar or salt, taking a new vitamin or just about anything. I recently started eating using the keto method that avoids sugar and carbs pretty much but you increase your intake of cheese products. I have had the oral thrush to the point I lost my sense of taste for close to 3 weeks.

    • No, I never had that and neither did my kids but I am sure they have candida. From tests and experience. I don’t think having thrush is crucial at all for diagnosis. Do you still have the thrush?

      • The doctors always said it was a yeast infection, the main treatment is diflucan or nystatin. I haven’t had a bad instance of it since I started doing the keto eating plan but in the past it would clear up and pop back up over night. I have been referred to a doctor of infectious disease to see what they determine the cause to be. But pretty much any antibiotic sets it off almost immediately, which is what made them want me to see the infectious disease doctor because they thought I may have to go through a process to de-sensentize me on a few antibiotics.

        • Candida is developing resistance to those drugs and in my opinion, it is much better to treat w/ natural oils and supplements and diet b/c the yeast apparently doesn’t mutate to become resistant to those things–from what I have been reading. I avoid antibiotics at all cost as well. Is there a reason you are taking them? They destroy gut flora. You should read my post on probiotics. :)

          • I only take them when I absolutely have to, the last time was post surgery and they were giving me huge doses of them to ensure I didn’t develop an infection, that was when I lost my taste sense. I take probiotics a lot.

  5. I can’t wait to hear more about this!! I am a subscriber so I will get an email when you have your next post, in case I miss it in my Facebook newsfeed. I love to hear the stories that people go through, the trials, etc. Good luck!

  6. Thanks for sharing this Adrienne, can’t wait to read the next chapter :)

    • Thanks, Alisa. Always a pleasure to hear from you. I hope to share more soon. Gotta get to my oils stuff again too. Too much to say. Maybe that’s why I blog now. :)

  7. This is a great post! I have been wondering a lot about candida and to see if I have it. I know some of the symptoms, and they seem to be what diabetics suffer from a lot/are more prone to. Since I am diabetic, I have been wondering about the connection, or if there really is any. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    • I have heard there is a connection b/c of the body’s difficulty in managing sugar and carb metabolism. But of course, you know you shouldn’t be eating that stuff anyway, right? Pretty please tell me you are watching it :). It’s hard but you can do it!

  8. What stevia are you using? The same one that you recommend in your chocolate chip recipe? (which has maltodextrin). I can came across this article http://www.thecandidadiet.com/blog/candida-supplements-4-ingredients-to-avoid/

  9. I am a loyal follower if your site and learn so much! Thank you for the post- things finally clicked! Everything is 100% what I have been struggling for years . I am at wits end. Will diet changes alone help ? Do you ever get rid of it completely? Or do you suggest supplements ? If you do – what would you recommend? I am eagerly awaiting the follow up article.

    • Hi Rita. I will share what I know, and I am thinking readers can share as well. I have it under control w/ diet and used supplements originally but the diet helped a ton. Are you on a good probiotic? We can talk about anti-candida supplements as well. I am no expert but boy are things different now. Stay in touch. Thanks for the kind words, by the way!

  10. I just read this article yesterday that I think may help you, at least in the long run. It’s very thought provoking. As I understand, most people that do the anti-candida diet fail in the long term. You need a rebalancing of the gut, which is best done with GAPS. But I’m no expert, it just seems to make sense. Otherwise you’ll always be miserable even with just a little sweets, it wouldn’t get to the root of the problem. Here it is: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/dont-waste-your-time-why-the-candida-diet-doesnt-work/

    • I have read the posts on that blog. I personally think it makes sense but I am not sure that GAPS heals all the time. I think the complexity is even more than that. I will share more. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • One more thing to ad, I do really like this book, but some bloggers are really convinced that GAPS is a cure all and I am not sure it is. I wonder if there are some sort of studies on why the GAPS diet doesn’t work on some folks and/or if it is supposed to work on everyone. Those are things I have been mulling over for awhile now. Do you have any thoughts? For example, do you know of folks who have done GAPS and feel their candida is healed? Also, the other issue is that GAPS allows for honey and I can’t imagine how someone w/ candida could do that. I really would like others to chime in here if someone has answers to this.

      • I’m afraid I can’t answer those questions. I do agree that it is even more complex, especially because what is right for one person may not be right for another. We are all so different when it comes to the ideal diet. It’s hard to find what works for us personally, it takes a lot of experimenting! We’ve just recently started drinking raw milk, for example, I love drinking it and love the benefits. But when I do drink it, my face becomes red and dry just an hour or two later, every time. I don’t know if I just need to get used to it maybe. Anyhow, I hope you find what works for you!

        • Interesting about the milk. Are you sure you aren’t allergic? Or did you read my post on rosacea? Sounds like it isn’t good for your body for some reason, huh?

          • I eat most dairy just fine, cheese and yogurt are staples in our house. But I think I just can’t digest milk. I don’t think it is a coincidence that my firstborn had a milk protein intolerance and I quit eating all dairy for a year just so I could breastfeed her. I read your post and I do think I have mild rosacea. It never even crossed my mind! I think milk is my biggest trigger. Do you think taking raw apple cider vinegar (diluted) would help with the digestion?

            • I of course can’t diagnose but I will say that we take digestive enzymes and I take HCl now for digestion. And also a Chinese Herb that appears to help. I am looking at this enzyme right now to try. We took it a long time ago and liked it.

      • Hi Adrienne– looking forward to reading more! My understanding with GAPS was that if one suspects candida to leave out honey and severely limit fruit and winter squash…. Did you take theresa Vernon’s Chinese herbal formula for candida?

        • You are likely right about that. Yes, I am taking it but you can’t take it when you are ill and I’ve had funny symptoms recently so I haven’t taken it as much recently.

        • Love your blog, Colleen! Just popped over and checked it out! Your photos are so intriguing!

          • Thanks for checking it out! I’d like to post again… Taking a break… Trying to get out of the ‘four lows’ and then out of burn out. You are amazing! Whole New Mom is wonderful.

            • Oh you are so welcome! I’m likely still in burnout. I need so much more healing. Thanks. Theresa thought I was out but I didn’t even ask her w/ my last test. Strange, eh??? I am so not well versed in my tests, etc. Kind of on auto pilot.

      • The book Nourishing Hope is by a nutritionalist and she goes through the 8-10 diets for autism and explains why some diets need a little tweeking with what the other diets have. Off the top of my head I know she covers GFCF, Body Ecology, GAPS diets. I attended a webinar she ran and she was talking about what else you can do if the GAPS diet is not completely working for you.

  11. Hi this came at the correct time I am trying to do the anti candida diet It seems so hard. The fruit and sugar are not that hard but no grains no dairy no nuts no beets, sweet potatoes no acorn squash or other squash no onions Well I am lost so I can’t wait to here what you have to say
    I have tried gaps with clients of mine and it helps out but it usually addresses autism and as pagers neurological problems that are different but may be in congruent with candida

    • Hi Anne. Who told you no nuts? The plan on Whole Approach was to eat 3 servings of starch per day so you can still eat it. Just in limited amounts. Have you found that GAPS completely heals the gut as the earlier commenter said? If it were for sure that easy would it cure all who have candida? I think autistic folks almost always have leaky gut but it is a complex issue.

  12. Hi Adrienne, thanks for sharing your story about this. I’m wondering about the sweeteners you use. Do you feel better using them as opposed to more ‘natural’ ones? I’ve used xylitol, but I’m careful to buy the kind from birch trees. I’ve never tried erythritol because I’m a bit hesitant about how processed it is. Also, on the stevia you use, I notice that it has ‘natural flavors’ in the ingredients, which I’ve read can be code for MSG. I’m SUPER sensitive to MSG and actually get a headache when I use NuNaturals products. Have you found you have any reactions to it?

    • Hi Lauren. I am sooo much better. I can’t handle the “natural sweeteners” anymore. Can you direct me to where the stevia says Natural Flavors b/c I for sure buy only pure extract powder. Often that NF and MSG stuff isn’t true but that’s another post. :). I only buy birch xylitol and I don’t use erythritol much really. I haven’t studied it much – do you have a link about the processing? Have you used NN’s pure extract? Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  13. I clicked on the link that you provided ‘mum of 3’ above, and it took me to the extract that you use. If you go to the left and roll over the images, you’ll see the ‘other ingredients’ list under the supplement facts box, and it says ‘natural flavors’. I’m pretty sure all of their products contain it. You have to wonder why their stevia tastes so much better?… I put a great deal of stock in the MSG and NF link simply because of how I feel when I consume anything from products with NF to protein powders. I think my glutamate receptors are pretty ‘full’, and when I consume an abundance of it, I feel the effects within a short time frame. The stevia I tolerate best is this one: http://www.amazon.com/Now-Foods-Stevia-Extract-Multi-Pack/dp/B002LIGPR6/ref=sr_1_6?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1361508920&sr=1-6&keywords=now+stevia+extract. NO added anything! It’s great to hear others thoughts on this though, and I look forward to your next post about your journey! :)

  14. P.s. Here’s a cool link! :)

  15. B.E.D. body ecology diet
    also no avacado no tomatoes

  16. Well,as you know I am VERY interested in this topic! I’m looking forward to hearing more of your story. I totally believe that there is no “one-diet-fits-all” approach and that we must each find what works best for us. I was able to have minimal grains and bring some fruits back. I think the greatest problem with the diet (as it is for so many “diets”) is maintaining the changes onward. It really has to become a lifestyle that you just commit to thereafter.

    • I think it is so complex. I too, don’t think you can really go back to where you were, which is a shame in one way–but in another, it makes us realize how frail we are and also forces us to eat healthier. Actually, most folks really need to change how they eat as they get older anyway, right? Or at least, they should:).

  17. alison armstrong says:

    I’m very interested to hear more! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Laurie Stryker says:

    I was wondering why it is “bad” to use dates or raising as a sweetener.

    • Hi Laurie! Well, that’s why. Dates are super high in glycemic index and are a big problem for those who suffer w/ sugar metabolism issue. Wish it weren’t true.

  19. This could not have come at a better time for me. I have been dealing with candida the past few months. My scalp has been itching like crazy! I had the orrible realization that I passed it on to my son. It was confirmed by a natropath the other day. I’m trying to do gaps but the no sugar part, its hard for me because I live with my in laws and the don’t understand any of it. So right now I’m just cooking meals for my family. Hopefully we can kick candidas butt!

    • Hi there. I’m not sure if it’s behind can be kicked but the diet will help. Are you off sugar now? The first diet I went on said 3 servings of grain / starchy veggie per day. That really helped.

  20. Yes we are off sugar. I’m not sure about grain because my son has a gluten problem. So right now I’m trying to up his probiotics and keep him of sugar and get more bone broth in him to help heal.

  21. Adrienne, Thank you so much for this article and links, and I am looking forward to hearing of your experiences. I have known for some time that I have issues with candida. I’ve known sugar is my enemy. But I’ve just never had the strength to eliminate it (talk about addiction!).

    In 2011, I changed my diet radically because my newborn son began having allergic reactions to what I ate, via my breastmilk. I ended up going from being a vegetarian (for over 20 years), to being a meat eater, after reading about “real food” and Weston Price and all that. I went on an elimination diet for two weeks, only eating turkey, zucchini, yams, and pears, and slowly added foods in. This was for my son, but I felt better than I had in my whole life. I felt younger, mentally alert, and I was at my high school weight (I am in my early 40’s).

    I thought it was because my vegetarian diet had been high in soy and starch. So, I eventually went back to eating sugar. Because I am an addict. The products are healthier or homemade. And I use sucanat when I can, or honey or maple syrup.

    But I have now gained back 10 pounds, and I’m bloaty, and irritable. I still don’t eat wheat or soy (never again), and our diet is entirely organic and our meat is grass fed and pastured.

    But I eat too much sugar and starch. (rice, fruit, potatoes)

    So, here is your article smacking me on the head, lol! I did that assessment. I was even conservative with my scoring.

    I scored 263. Seriously. You have answered my questions about itchiness (an issue since my son was born in 2011). And now I’m having itchiness all over my body, intermittently – no rash, just itchiness.

    I will be honest – I am terrified of getting this strict with my diet, but I know it’s right. So, I am very interested in how you did it. I didn’t have any die off when I went on that elimination diet, so I’m not sure what would happen with this.

    Anyway, sorry to ramble. I found your site seeking recipes for my son, and you have blessed us again and again with your creativity and knowledge. Thank you thank you thank you.

    • I think my score was higher than that. :(. It is terrifying but if I can do it. You can. The recipes here should help and some of the blogs I’ve shared have great stuff.

      Just try going down to 3 servings of starch or starchy veg per day and see how you do. It becomes manageable. They have a great food chart on W. Approach. I was going to write more today but our internet was down for about 2 hours and I am recovering from a concussion and am still pretty tired. Bless you and hang in there.

  22. Thank you for your encouragement. I’m glad to hear that it can be done a bit more incrementally. I did download the food chart, and it’s really helpful and do-able. I have a hard time with breakfast. Anyway, so sorry to hear about your concussion! Thank you for taking the time to respond in spite of that. Take care!!

    • Thanks for the well wishes. For breakfast, have you seen my chia puddings? I have another one I am working on. Or just leftovers from lunch and dinner. For awhile I did veggies and meat or eggs. I have gotten so much more simplified but likely I will add more veggies soon :).

      • Hmmm, I do need to think outside the box, and I do need to eat way more veggies, so breakfast would be a good place to start. I can’t eat eggs right now because my son is allergic, and I’m still nursing. I have seen your chia pudding and that’s a great idea. I am at the point where I think I need to purchase a Vitamix, particularly because I recently learned my store-bought coconut milk has a not-so-friendly ingredient in it (carrageenan), (so I want to make my own), so all of this will come together for me soon.

        • I had that problem w/ my son as well w/ eggs. My kids typically have a funny “super fast” drink which is just homemade coconut milk w/ stevia and gelatin blended in. They get fat and protein and it tastes good. I hope to share more ideas soon. They aren’t gorgeous but I just made coconut biscuits that are low to no carb. Oh…how about the flax bread I have on my site? You could make it with chia egg sub or even the egg replacer on my site and it has almost no carbs at all and that is really good. My son loves it with nut or seed butter and some xylitol for breakfast. So see – there are options :).

          And if you buy a Vitamix, consider geting one through me :).

          • Great ideas – that bread looks great, and a good place to start with flax (I’ve used it as an egg replacer a couple of times, but that’s it). What do you grind flax seeds with?

            I’ll definitely get the Vitamix through your site. We’re going to get one – talked about it today. If I click through from one of your links, will anything I buy be credited to you? (we’re looking at a refurbished one). I’m asking because I see the code in the initial link, but then when I click on links on the Vitamix page, your code doesn’t stay in the link.


            • I grind them in my Vitamix :). But a coffee grinder will work as well. I can do 2 cups at a time in the Vitamix. Yes, if you go through I believe I get credit. You can call their 800# listed on my sidebar to get the free shipping – same thing. Hmmmm.. Which link are you trying? I should check it out. Thanks for letting me know. They changed their links awhile ago and I might have missed one.

  23. It truly is amazing how many people are effected by this and don’t know. Thank you for bringing it to your readers attention. I think this info could help a lot of people.

    • You’re right, France. I spoke at my church about 1 year ago about this — for only about 15 minutes. You would think people would have thought I was crazy but they really listened. I think it’s epidemic.

  24. I never knew that itching ears could be symptom! That’s just crazy how it effects skin inflammation and itchiness all over your body. I’m starting a Whole 30 this coming month (March) myself. It’s not as anti-sugar as the candida diet or 21 Day Sugar Detox, but it’s still quite low in sugar. I am tempted to do the Candida Diet after that to see if it helps even more. Baby steps!

    Thanks for sharing this information!

    • I didn’t know it either but I’ve noticed a too close correlation too many times to ignore it now. And after reading more on the Whole Approach site it is pretty obvious that it’s a problem related to candida. Take care!

  25. Jennifer L. says:

    I’m glad to find your article here – what an eye opener! Most of the time people don’t realize how sugar effects their health – It’s not just that you gain weight, get bad teeth or get diabetics.
    Also me and my husband quit sugar for 2 1/2 months now (we did the 21 sugar detox challenge on http://timreviews.com/21daysugardetox) and the most dramatic change I experienced is that I’m easing to sleep at 11pm AND staying there without waking up several times anymore. Before I used to sleep at 2-3am, waking up a few times at night and get out of bed at 8am, feeling sick and exhausted.
    All the best,

  26. I have been on a candida diet since April 2012. When I started I thought it would only take a month so no big deal giving up all those foods. I certainly was wrong about the time frame but really like the diet and don’t feel deprived in anyway. I know I won’t go back to eating wheat again and will probably stick to a gluten free diet as well.
    Giving up sugar wasn’t a big deal since I didn’t eat much of it, but I did drink alcohol. I thought giving that up might be hard but wasn’t at all and I don’t miss it. Giving up coffee was probably the hardest but I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t miss that either — but don’t you dare take away my chicory/dandelion/cinnamon drink in the morning!
    In addition to following a pretty strict diet I have been taking (herbal) anti-fungals and probiotics. I’m at the point now where I have started to reintroduce a few foods — cranberries are making be very happy! My most visible and persistent symptom has been eczema on my legs. It is almost totally gone and winter is usually the worst time of year for it.
    Sorry to be so long winded — really looking forward to reading your next chapter.

    • I hear you on the coffee substitute! Did you see my recipe? I used to put cinnamon in mine as well.

      Cranberries shouldn’t be an issue on the candida diet…why were you off them? Good for you on the eczema. My son’s is gone too . Bleh.

  27. Hi Adrienne,
    I was a terrible sugar addict for years and didn’t realise it until I came across Sugar Blues by William Dufty in 2001. Since then, I’ve been off sugar, white flour and white rice about five different times for about five months at a time. When I cut those things out, I lose a heap of weight, and my asthma disappears along with a host of other annoying little issues like nail fungus, grey hairs (seriously!), and yeast overgrowth, which was terrible during my pregnancies. It’s just so hard to stay on track sometimes though, which just doesn’t make sense when you’re getting so many benefits!
    So now I just want to kill the cravings instead of willpowering them out of existence, and even acupuncture can’t get rid of them, so I’ve been trying to find an essential oil blend to use to get my body back in balance. I figure that if I kill off the candida, the cravings will disappear. At least, I’m hoping so.
    BTW I noticed your sleep comment above. When I was off refined foods, I had so much energy that I could only sleep a few hours each night!

    • Wow. You know, that’s amazing. I just can’t tolerate barely any sugar at all. Keep on, OK? It’s just not worth it!!!

      I don’t know about the getting rid of candida thing. My practitioner says that one Chinese Herb blend she recommends will kill it but I think it’s always going to be an issue. What blend are you trying? I think we’ll be able to talk w/ Mr. Dean about using oils for different conditions but now sure when. I am sure he says no sugar and no white flour.

      • Thanks for the encouragement. It’s so great that your body rejects sugar now, you must be feeling fantastic!

        I tried Ocotea and Cinnamon with no noticeable results, so Palmarosa, Myrrh and Clove oils are next – will let you know how that goes. It could be emotionally-related too, so might do a feelings kit-type thing eventually. I’d be very interested to hear Mr Dean’s recommendations and if anyone else has had success using oils.

        • Actually I feel super sensitive. I am working on metals now. Not easy but necessary. Have you read my metals post?

          • Not yet, but I had a quick look and will read the related articles too. I could read your blog all day!

            I actually found myself reading about metals two days ago as my daughter has been exhibiting some autism-spectrum behaviours. Cilantro oil is supposed to be a good detoxifier so I’ve ordered some to try from Heritage. Will be interesting to see if it does anything.

            • Well you are just too kind. I feel I have sooo much to learn. And not enough time to write what I want to share. Heritage oils in the US? You should connect w/ my practitioner if you have those suspicions. Is she GF and DF and SF?

              • Well, you seem to have shared very generously so far, it’s been a great help :)
                Yes, it’s Heritage oils in the U.S. Our diet is mainly wholefood with minimal wheat and sugar. She loves her dairy, but we stick to organic, A2 or goats milk. I went off those things when I breastfed her to see if it helped, but it didn’t. We thought that she was just a strong-willed child. Who is your practitioner? I’d like to find out more…

                • Theresa Vernon. She’s very interesting. Heavy metal and adrenal work. I am doing quite well w/ her. My son has done GF, SF and DF (DF for life b/c he’s deathly allergic) and he is quite a bit better but still likely on the spectrum. Hard to tell. He has anxiety.

                  • Thank you! Her site looks fascinating. I so hope that you are close to the finish line with these issues, it sounds like you’ve been through A LOT. It makes you really appreciate the normal days with no tears or arguments or tantrums though, huh? I’ve had 2 in 5 years. I still remember them. They were bliss!

  28. I avoided all fruit for the first six or seven months. I started to add cranberries back in last fall when they were in season. I guess I didn’t really think about them until they were in the stores for Thanksgiving. I’ve always made my own cranberry sauce and now I just use stevia instead of honey. We’ve also been enjoying them in some gluten free, dairy free, sugar free muffins.

  29. I’ve been following different versions of Candida Diet for the past 2.5 years now and have had symptoms for as long as I can remember – very similar to yours actually.
    In one way I am grateful that it has made me appreciative of a lot of foods that I would never have eaten in my “normal” life. And I was forced to cook/ bake, which is a blessing. But all the uncertainty and phantom pains, itches and worries…
    Gosh! It is quite a life changer, isn’t it?

  30. We are in the midst of a candida diet, and what a ride. My wife and I have never had a serious weight problem, so we believed falsely that you could eat whatever you wanted…my wife would eat an ice cream sandwich and soda for lunch, and because she was skinny she didn’t think it was a problem…
    We are seeing changes, very slowly, but changes, and it is mostly good, thanks for the info and the encouragement…can’t wait to look more at your blog.

    • Thanks for commenting and welcome. I know what you mean about being skinny. I used to be that way and I have friends who are as well. Cute, thin and eating loads of sugar…or not loads, but just sugar. It’s a big problem. Hope you continue to heal.

  31. We are doing GAPS right now to try and help me with Candida. I was frustrated because I thought I had a gazillion unrelated things so searching Candida really was nice to know the ear infections, itching, joint pain (in past), food intolerances, anxiety, and /extreme/ fatigue, headaches, chronic cough ect. was all potentially connected. I think my daughter has it too and is THRIVING on GAPS. I took the test and got 465… but it has been a really bad day so I might have over estimated a few things.

    • I also took the spit test and “soared” I might be going lower carb after baby is born but I was recommended not to right now.

    • HI Debra. I am considering GAPS for myself and my son…..problem is the broth and other things. My son detests broth (kind of like a phobia) and he is deathly allergic to egg whites and dairy and most nuts. And w/ the candida I fear we cannot tolerate honey. I would need to use the sweeteners that they forbid. Can you tell me how it is going w/ you? I would love to check into this further, or maybe we need to look at SCD instead. Thanks!

  32. I just read this article. I scored a 125. What 125?! In the above post you say there is more to your story as you were on the Candida Diet and still had health problems. I am looking forward to that article or if it is somewhere on the site already please post a link for us who are relatively new.

    125?! OMG

    • I think I was in the 300’s. You are waaaay better. Did you read my fermented foods post from yesterday? Hang with me — it will all come together. I am not totally healed but things are so much better.

  33. Kelly H. says:

    Hi Adrienne, can you tell me where you get your sweeteners from? I’ve tried Xylitol before and liked the taste, but the kind I bought turned out to be highly processed and had sucralose in it (which I can’t have, instant migraine). I’ve had Stevia before as well, but didn’t like the after taste it left. But that could have been the brand I was using. I am trying to get off the sugar because I am addicted to it. (at least it feels that way!) Though I highly suspect I have candida as well… Thanks for all the good info you have posted!

    • Thanks for writing! I get xylitol from 2 places. One is from a place that sells bulk (Global Sweet) but recently I have begun buying from Green Polka Dot Box. Their prices are really good and they have good quality control. Here’s a post on them. If it looks like you would shop there let me know. As for stevia, the info on stevia is in a lot of my posts, one of them is this Bean Fudge post. That’s the only brand I use at present. Hope that helps!

  34. Kelly H. says:

    Thanks! :) I looked up the info on the stevia and liked what I saw. Many reviewers said it didn’t have any bitterness or aftertaste and that is exactly why I haven’t liked the stevia I’ve tried before, so I think I will like this one. I will have to look up the info about the xylitol too. One word of caution to pet owners, xylitol is toxic to cats (I don’t know about dogs though.) Stevia I’m not sure about, but I would keep it away from pets to be safe.

    • Xylitol is toxic to dogs, but so are raisins and chocolate, so there are several things to think about regarding pets. Take care! I don’t think stevia is toxic to them – not that I have heard.

  35. Oh how familiar your story is! Mine is nearly identical except I never worked at an ice cream shop. LOL. I’ve tried GAPS – but still ate honey and fruit like a crazy person. So now I am on day 9 of a candida cleanse – I’m convinced I may have to eat this way forever! I cut out all that you mentioned above, and I’m doing some high powered herbs from my local enzyme specialist. Die off really does suck… It’s so hard, but I keep telling myself it will be worth it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Welcome, Carly. Yup – don’t try the ice cream store. What a disaster! Did you see the Gut Health Course? It’s really great. I bet you would find a ton of stuff that would help. Take care and hope to see you around again–maybe in the class :).

  36. Laurie Stryker says:

    I am researching the Candida diet for my son. I see you use Xylitol as a sweetener, but it is on the list of foods to avoid on the Whole Approach website. I’m confused. . .

    • Hi Laurie. The sweetener info is really confusing. Tarilee on WA is very picky and I appreciate that, but there are some things that I didn’t do according to plan and some things that in my own experience and research that I think might be incorrect. (By the way, I think she is amazing so this is not meant to discredit her at all). I think that xylitol is a good option and so is erythritol. We have heard that you can work yourself up to tolerance of xylitol if you have digestive upset from it. I still wonder some times, but for my family and our budget, we use it. There has been a lot published about xylitol that is negative that just is not true and I hope to write a post about it soon. In the meantime, you could also try yacon, vegetable glycerine, etc to round out your sweetener options.

      One good example of where I differ from Tarilee is my thoughts about fermented foods. I thought for years that I couldn’t tolerate them, but if you read my post on Why I Don’t Have Fermented Foods on My Blog, you will find out that it turns out that I wasn’t.

  37. Hi! In one of your recent posts you mentioned making a substitute for recipes requiring date paste. I can’t seem to find it but I do remember you mentioning using pumpkin and several other ingredients (and I can’t remember those!). Do you have a specific formula you use. I avoid most fruits, sugars, grains as I have thyroid issues and have had breast cancer (I also intensely dislike the taste of most dried sweet fruits ie: figs,, dates, raisins and bananas anyway!) I will use stevia if necessary or even a small amount of mesquite powder if a recipe calls for some sweetness. Love your posts! Keep up the good work and thank you!

    • I don’t have a specific recipe (yet :)!). I was thinking pumpkin or sweet potato and/or chia with sweetener mixed in. I would think even some gum or glucomannan would help w/ the texture. I’ll try to work on it as I can but I would just try making a concoction to see what you come up with for now :)! Sorry. I’ve got a bit too much going on.

  38. I am still struggling on which sweetener I should be using to make a recipe candida-friendly. Is it best to use vegetable glycerine, xylitol or stevia? I am not even sure what the differences are betwen them.

    • I use all of them. Mostly xylitol, erythritol, and stevia. I wrote a post on stevia here. And here is a blend I make myself, though I might need to change it a big. I use whatever I like but typically I will cut the sugar amount in 1/2 and use xylitol for that portion and make up for the remaining sweetness w/ stevia. Hope this helps. I need to write a post on this soon :)!

  39. I have a very severe eczema problem on my hands. I am 21 years old and this eczema just randomly showed up on my right hand on only two fingers in May of this year. It has spread all fingers except my thumb on my right hand and now over to my left. It is so bad that it is at the point of cracking, pussing, bleeding, flaking, itching, leathering over, and starting the cycle over again.
    I started a candida cleanse two weeks ago and I am not seeing any improvements. I am using essential oils on my hands to help clear them up, and I have tried SO many things!
    I am eating dairy and wheat free right now. No sugar, and no fruits except for berries, green apples, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. What else can I do!? I am feeling so desperate right now.

  40. I just took the Candida Symptom assessment on Whole Approach, got a score of 290 :( I’ve been researching Candida for a while, and am sure that’s the main cause of ALL my problems, but I just don’t know where to start. Sp many different supplements and treatments, all saying they are the only way to do it. And it’s a lot of money we don’t have. If the Whole Approach wasn’t what worked for you, what did? Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    • Well, in a nutshell, I crashed after following their protocol. And it was bad. I am not sure why but I think it was heavy metals and adrenal issues. I did some work on ridding sugar out totally and working on the metals and adrenals and am doing better now. I am still not out of the woods but I had a friend locally who experienced the same thing. I think candida is something that expresses itself but there are other things going on as well. This is some more about the metals. http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/could-you-have-heavy-metal-poisoning-and-not-know-it-part-one/

      • brooklynD says:

        I didn’t know fruits were bad for you with candida until my DR told me. This is the program he recommended, and it got rid of my y infection in 2 days.

        Lady Soma Advance Candida Supplement
        with Distilled watter (with added minerals)
        organic beans
        olive oil

        Now that I have my diet straight, I take the lady soma candida supplement, and going to the gym every day I am yeast free!

  41. My whole family tested positive for candida using the spit test. Even my 7 year old. We don’t do antibiotics now but did in the past. Been sugar and grain free for 10 days and, honestly, it sucks. Especially for my husband and kid. Taking Thorne Formula 722, coconut oil, raw garlic, Bragg raw vinegar before every meal, a little raw honey with cinnamon (the good cinnamon), kefir, and Keybiotics. Praying we can add in some starches soon. Before we kill each other. 😉 So far my kid’s allergies seem a tiny bit better, my husband had a skin issue that seems to be improving, and my scalp itches a little less. Hoping it will help my bloating so I don’t literally look 6 months pregnant. Few headaches for me, but not seeing any other die off yet.

  42. Holy cow! My Candida questionnaire score was 220! Um, crap!!! I don’t even know where to go from here. :(

  43. Keesha Doss says:

    I know this is going to sound rather silly but I am so glad that someone else has itchy ears! Drs thot I was crazy! I was beginning to think I was, too! Lol!
    My question: Can you go sugar-free like you did while breastfeeding? I have a 7 month old girl. I have an insanely leaky gut. She gets severe exzema every time she feeds from me. I think my adrenals are shot. Probably lazy liver and kidneys. I can’t eat much of anything. Trying to work w/ wholistic dr but so expensive.

    • Hey there! Yes, misery loves company, eh :)? Or should I say :(. Yes you can of course lose the sugar while breastfeeding as it isn’t a necessary nutrient, however I can’t make medical claims so please check w your doc. I know, I have to say that. I so would love to help and have a lot to share …..but I am not a practitioner. There are typical things you could do. Perhaps we could arrange something via email but again, I can only share my own experiences – not prescribe.

  44. Minor perhaps. but you can’t itch an itch. You can only scratch an itch. If you’re publishing, you really must learn this distinction.

  45. Brandy @ A Mindful Mantra says:

    Great read! I, too, did not think I could give up sugar. But, it was so worth it. I was shocked to learn that my vaginal infections, stomach bloat, constipation, skin rashes, depression, anxiety, and mood swings could all be linked back yeast. It changed the entire course of my life!

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